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Match preview: Eagles v Blues

Howard Kotton, AFL.com.au  April 18, 2018 4:00 PM

Josh Kennedy is two goals shy of becoming West Coast's all-time leading goalkicker

Josh Kennedy is two goals shy of becoming West Coast's all-time leading goalkicker

SUMMARY

It has been a tough few weeks at Ikon Park as the battling Blues search for their first win of the season. They have shown patches of good footy, but their young brigade in the midfield have been too easily brushed aside by bigger bodies. Carlton's inefficiency inside forward 50, turnovers and skill errors have also proved costly and injured skipper Marc Murphy leaves a big hole, but this Saturday twilight clash presents an opportunity to show some fight after a week of heavy criticism and soul-searching. The Eagles have been impressive in the past two wins at home, but they have struggled in their recent contests at the MCG. Josh Kennedy proved the difference when these clubs last met and he will be eyeing another big haul if he wins enough supply from his midfielders including Elliot Yeo, Chris Masten and Andrew Gaff.

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Saturday, April 21, 4.35pm AEST

PAST FIVE TIMES

R21, 2017, West Coast 15.10 (100) d Carlton 12.11 (83) at Subiaco Oval
R17, 2016, West Coast 12.10 (82) d Carlton 11.9 (75) at the MCG
R2, 2015, West Coast 20.11 (131) d Carlton 9.8 (62) at Subiaco Oval
R6, 2014, Carlton 14.8 (92) d West Coast 12.17 (89) at Etihad Stadium
R4, 2013, Carlton 12.17 (89) d West Coast 7.23 (65) at Subiaco Oval

THE SIX POINTS

1. When these clubs clashed late last season, scores were level at three-quarter time before the Eagles kicked five goals to three in the final term. Josh Kennedy was the star of the night, kicking six goals.

2. West Coast is the highest scoring team this season, kicking 66 goals and averaging 110 points a game. Carlton is third last for scoring, averaging only 67 points.

3. West Coast has dominated Carlton recently, winning the past three games and six of the last eight. The Eagles have not defeated the Blues in four consecutive contests since 2004-07.

4. The Eagles have kicked the ball more this season than any other team, averaging 238.5 a game. The Blues are ranked 14th with an average of 209.5.

5. This is a rare MCG clash between the clubs. Carlton won a final at the venue in 1999 before West Coast won a close one in 2016. West Coast has lost its past three games at the MCG and five of the past six.

6. Dual All Australian defender Jeremy McGovern is the second-ranked key defender in the Schick AFL Player Ratings behind Richmond's Alex Rance. The Eagle is 38th overall with a total of 469.1 points. The top Blue in this category is Lachie Plowman (No. 212 overall on 310.5 points).

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …

West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy booted five goals in his first game for the season last Saturday night and needs one goal to draw level with Peter Sumich as the leading goalkicker in Eagles' history. He has a big chance to break the record against his former club on Saturday night.